Born: June 18, 1966
Birthplace: Chemainus, British Columbia, Canada
Height: 6'2" Weight: 215 lbs.
Drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins, 1st Round, 9th
Overall, 1984 NHL Entry Draft
Seasons with Buffalo: 1988-89 to 1995-96
Uniform Number: 8
|Growing up in Chemainus, BC, Doug Bodger followed in the footsteps of his older brother Don, playing hockey for the local midget team. He also played baseball, and as a teen was an All Star slugger in the Babe Ruth Senior League. Hockey, however, was Bodger's sport of choice, so it was only natural for him to make the jump from midget hockey to the Major Junior league when he turned 16.
Bodger was drafted by the Kamloops Junior Oilers of the Western Hockey League in the spring of 1982. An offensive defenseman, Bodger excelled as a junior, scoring 26 goals and 66 points his rookie year. Bodger was named Second Team All-Star, and finished secon in voting for WHL Rookie of the Year.
The following season, Bodger increased his point total to 98, and was named First Team All-Star. That year, Bodger led his team to the WHL finals, where they defeated Regina to earn a birth in the Memorial Cup Tournament. The Junior Oilers finished third in the Tournament.
|Following a stellar junior career, Bodger was eligible for the NHL Entry Draft in 1984. Though he was projected to go high in the draft, the real prize of that year's draft was an 18 year old center from the Quebec Major Junior League named Mario Lemieux. Lemieux was drafted with much fanfare by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Shortly thereafter, Doug Bodger was selected, with slightly less fanfare, at 9th overall, also by the Penguins.
Bodger became a regular with the Penguins in his rookie season. He made his NHL debut October 11, 1984, in Boston. Bodger was on the ice for his first NHL shift when new teammate Mario Lemieux scored his first NHL goal. It was Bodger who fished the puck out of the net, and presented it to the budding superstar. Bodger scored his first goal just a few nights later, in his second NHL game, in the Forum against the legendary Montreal Canadiens. It was one of five goals Bodger would score his rookie year.
|Bodger would spend three more full seasons with the Penguins. Ten games into the 1988-89 season, Bodger was traded to the Buffalo Sabres. At the time, the Sabres were looking to clear up a logjam that had developed in net. With two NHL calibre goaltenders fighting for playing time behind him, Tom Barrasso had become expendable.
On November 11, 1988, Sabres GM Gerry Meehan sent Barrasso and a third round pick in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft (Joe Dziedzic) to the Penguins for Bodger and left wing prospect Darrin Shannon.
A solid defenseman with speed and a booming shot from the point, Bodger made his presence felt almost immediately upon joining the Sabres. He scored his first goal as a Sabre on November 27, 1988, helping the Sabres to a 7-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. He scored six more goals during the 1988-89 season and added 40 assists in only 61 games played. His 47 points was, at the time, the seventh highest single season total by a Sabres defenseman. Bodger became a leader on the Sabres powerplay. Six of his seven goals that year were scored when the Sabres had the man advantage.
|Bodger recorded his best goal-scoring season as a Sabre in 1989-90, when he chipped in 12 goals. 8 of Bodger's 12 goals came on the powerplay. He also added 36 assists, and finished second to Phil Housely in scoring among Sabres defensemen for the second straight year.
In the offseason following the 1989-90 season, Housely was traded to the Winnepeg Jets. The Sabres pinned their hopes on Bodger to fill his role as the team's top offensive defenseman for 1990-91. Bodger failed to fulfill that role when he was sidelined with a seperated shoulder midway through the season. Bodger missed 22 games due to the injury, and finished the season with 5 goals and 23 assists in 58 games played.
In 1991-92, Bodger returned to form. He scored 11 goals and 35 assists to lead the Sabres defensemen in goals,
|assists and total points. Bodger remained a fixture on the Sabres blueline for the next three seasons. He would go on to lead the Sabres defense in scoring in two of those three years. 1992-93 would be his best offensive year. He totalled a career high 54 points (9 goals, 45 assists), and again led the Sabres defense in scoring. He also won the Tim Horton Memorial Trophy that year, given to the player whose performance is voeted to be most superior to the public recognition he receives. Bodger led the Sabres defense in scoring again in the strike-shortened 1994-95 season. In 44 games that year, he scored 3 goals and 17 assists.|
|Bodger would become one of the first victims of Muckler's rebuilding project. On November 16, 1995, he was traded to the San Jose Sharks in a three way deal that also involved the Philadelphia Flyers. As part of the complex deal, The Sharks received Bodger from the Sabres and a 1st round draft pick from the Flyers. The Flyers received winger Pat Faloon from the Sharks. The Sabres came away with left wing Vaclav Varada, prospect Martin Spanhel, a 4th round pick in the 1996 Entry Draft (Mike Martone) and a conditional 1st round pick in 1996 (Erik Rasmussen).|
|1992-93: Tim Horton Memorial Award (Given to the player voted to be the team's Unsung Hero)|
|Though the Sabres of the early 1990's were packed with offensive talent, the team was unable to find playoff success. In 1995, the Sabres ownership gave GM John Muckler an order to trim the team's payroll. This began a string of trades which sent high paid veterans packing in favor of younger, cheaper talent.|
|By this time, Bodger's career was clearly in decline. He lost a step, and was no longer able to fill the role of rushing offensive defenseman he had filled with the Sabres. Though he enjoyed two-and-a-half seasons with the Sharks, his numbers fell drastically. Midway through the 1997-98 season, Bodger was on the move again, this time traded to the New Jersey Devils. Bodger finished the year with the Devils, and was again traded in the off-season, to the Los Angeles Kings. Bodger played the 1998-99 season in L.A.
At the end of the season, Bodger was a free-agent, and contemplating retirement. Deciding to give it one more shot, he signed as a free agent with the Vancouver Canucks, back home in British Columbia. Bodger's homecoming didn't go quite as expected. After only 13 games with the Canucks, GM Brian Burke attempted to demote Bodger to the minor leagues. Having never played in the minors in his 16 year pro career, Bodger balked at the move, and after a heated media battle with Burke, decided to retire instead of taking the demotion.
Bodger now resides in Duncan, B.C., where he owns and operates a sporting goods store.